Magnesium is the eleventh most common element in the body and is essential for hundreds of enzymes to function, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and regulating blood pressure. It has also been shown in some studies to have a calming effect and relieve anxiety and depression symptoms.  Some of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency according to the Institute of Health are: hypertension, osteoporosis, and glucose tolerance problems.  Low levels of magnesium has also been associated with a need for increased oxygen during exercise, according to scientists with the Agricultural Research Service. The Institute of Health also cites several studies that indicate the elderly are particularly at risk of inadequate magnesium from either lower amounts in the diet and/or poorer absorption of magnesium as we age.

The Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) of Magnesium listed by the Institute of Health is:

RDA for Men 31 through 70+ years – 420 mg (17.5 mmol)/day
RDA for Women 31 through 70+ years – 320 mg (13.3 mmol)/day

Now if you eat well and are aware of high magnesium food you can get that amount of magnesium in your daily food intake.  Foods that are high in magnesium are whole grains, dark leafy green vegetables, and  a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, and soy products.  Unfortunately, the USDA reports over half of Americans are eating a diet insufficient in magnesium.

The symptoms of too much magnesium is usually diarrhea.  Magnesium Citrate is often used for constipation.

If you, like me, are looking for a magnesium supplement, then what I want are supplements that are readily absorbable, effective, and safe.  There are a few different types available so let’s take a look.

Magnesium Glycinate – Probably the most easily absorbed form of magnesium and also the least likely to cause diarrhea.  These are often listed as “Chelated”.  Okay, so what is that? Well “chelated” is actually quite simple, it means minerals that are bound to amino acid proteins.  This helps this form be so easily absorbable.  It also is more expensive as the process is more costly.

Magnesium Oxide – This is the one that’ll loosen things up!  Often used for constipation and where the “Milk of Magnesia” gets it’s magic.  Less available for absorption and not the best choice for those looking to increase their magnesium on a regular basis.

Magnesium Citrate – A combination of magnesium and Citric acid.  Often used by doctors to clean things out before a colonoscopy.  It will help elevate your magnesium levels and also help with constipation.

Magnesium Malate – Magnesium with malic acid, which is commonly found in fruit.  This form has become much more popular as several studies have shown some promise in alleviating chronic fatigue and depression symptoms.

Magnesium Taurate- Taurine, an amino acid, is paired with magnesium.  Taurine has shown promise to aid circulation, depression, the immune system, and also assist cognitive function.

Bottom line is if you are looking to up your magnesium levels without any bowel side effects then Magnesium Glycinate is probably your best choice.  If you have some other areas you would like to address as well then try one of the other supplemental forms.  Magnesium is thought to be a safe supplement with little side effect or risk of overdose, but as with any supplement it is best to check with your doctor before starting any new supplement.

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